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Can you save a seat on Southwest?



This past weekend, my wife and I flew southwest down to Orlando for ResellingDO 5. On the flight home we saw a curious sight: bags were left on a couple of seats. It made me ask the question – can you save a seat on Southwest?

Southwest’s policy

Logically, I turned to Twitter to ask Southwest. I was surprised with their response:

It seems like a reasonable thing for Southwest to do – that is, having no policy on the matter. I could see how enforcing such a policy could become contentious.

In my mind though, there shouldn’t be a need for a policy because people should have follow standard etiquette and be considerate. Taking the entire 3rd row on one side of the aircraft seems pretty inconsiderate and downright selfish to me.

Some folks on twitter weighed in:

There is also the security aspect. For all intents and purposes, these bags were left unattended. A reasonable person might assume that the owners of these bags are onboard, but I have seen people deboard aircraft before. Yes, these bags were likely screened by TSA’s finest, but it still gives me pause to see unattended bags.
More details on the folks that saved the seats

It was not truly apparent upon boarding, but I will share what I think happened. When I boarded as A52, I saw row 1 ABC and DEF filled (well, DEF had 2 people but one looked like a gentleman of size, so giving him the benefit of the doubt that he purchased a second seat). I observed folks seated in row 2 ABC passing things back and forth with row 1, and there were interactions with row 3. Row 3 ABC was where bags were left. What I can surmise from this, is that ~4 members of the family pre-boarded, and saved seats for the remainder of the family. This took up 12 seats in the first 3 rows.

I think Susan said it best:

So, can you save a seat on Southwest?

The answer to this is simple, per Southwest, there is no policy for or against this practice.

But I would offer that the question really is: Should you save a seat on Southwest? What about an entire row when not a single seat is occupied in that row? I would say no.

To me, I might be more understanding if folks are trying to save seats further back in the aircraft, but seeing row 3 reserved (and I boarded as A52) seems incredibly inconsiderate.

What do you think? Is saving an entire row on Southwest ok?

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